What to do when overprotective relatives get in the way of relationships

glampie1 asks: I started dating a friend of my brother’s. But then I started to let my friends know (which was a bad idea), and things started to get out of control. He started talking to my best friend (his cousin) and we started arguing, and then we made up. But the only major thing that is wrong with this whole relationship is that my family is too overprotective! What should I do?!

Hi glampie1 –

Boy, is that ever the thing about families!  If you have a not-so-great family, they don’t protect you at all.  And if you have a good one, they just might protect you too much!  So while it’s wonderful to have people caring about you and wanting to protect you, it can also be a drag!  Kind of like my feelings about the fence around my yard – I know Handsome locks me in because he cares about me, but it makes it impossible for me to chase the neighbor’s cat!

The only answer I can come up with for you (I don’t have any for myself!) is for you to talk to your brother and his cousin, and anyone else who’s being too protective of you.  But this can only work if one thing is true:  Do they trust your boyfriend?  If they don’t – if he’s a fun guy they like but they think he treats girls too badly or casually – then there’s nothing you’ll be able to change in their actions.  They care about you and will do whatever they can to protect you from this guy, and any protests you make will only make them more sure he’s manipulating you.

But if that’s not the case, if the people in your family who know him actually think he’s a stand-up guy, then you should be able to get them to pull back.  The best way to ease their concerns is if you tell them exactly what you would accept from this boy, and what you wouldn’t (for example – “I’m okay if he hangs out with other girls he knows as friends, but if he dated another one I’d dump him like a hot potato!”).  If they know he’s nice, and they know what your boundaries are, they’re probably going to be willing to be cool about your relationship.

But whatever happens, just know, glampie 1 – all that overprotectiveness that’s driving you up the wall is just a sign that you are loved and cared for.  And so many people in the world don’t have that at all.  So appreciate what you can of it.  Just as I appreciate Handsome keeping me out of the streets with the fast cars.

Even if these people drive us both nuts!



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kerry ann mitchell - February 4, 2013 Reply

For a dog you really know a lot! If you’re really a dog I would like to have you. You help people all around the world. I am from Jamaica and I admire you very much. Thank you a lot!

    Shirelle - February 6, 2013 Reply

    Wow thanks!! I’m sorry, I have a very committed relationship to my friend Handsome, but I really appreciate what you’re saying, and know there are lots of other dogs out there who’d love to have a grateful, appreciative human like you!!

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